The 2014 NYSAIS champions are off to a great start.
By Melanie Cane
The 2014 NYSAIS champions are off to a great start. After winning their first game against Hamden Hall, 1-0, on September 16, Rye Country Day triumphed over Long Island Lutheran 3-1 three days later. Sadly, the Wildcats lost sophomore forward Tatiana Fernandez to a season-ending injury during the match.
For their September 21 home opener, Coach Alin Andre had to scramble to adjust his lineup against a very fast and physical Convent of the Sacred Heart team. He also changed up the defense.
The match started inauspiciously. Maybe it was owing to first home game jitters, the Wildcats’ rough history with Sacred Heart, or being down a starter, but Rye Country Day played tentatively for the first 20 minutes.
They turned the corner after goalie Cilicia Payne made a stunning save on a breakaway play. As if a switch were thrown, the hunted Wildcats became the hunters of the Tigers. With 6:14 left in the first half, Taylor Regan scored on an assist from Zoe Kost in a scramble in front of the goal. A minute later, Kost scored on an assist by Martina Capellano following a corner kick by Regan.
Rye Country Day took a 2-0 lead into the second half and dominated the rest of the game. They created several scoring opportunities, converting one. With 9:15 left in the game, Charlotte Boehning scored on a combination play off an assist from Regan. Boehning’s line drive shot found the back of the net off the fingertips of the Tiger’s goalie.
After the game-changing save in the first half, the Wildcats did not allow the Tigers to threaten their goal thanks to superb defense driven by Boehning, who marked Sacred Heart’s top scorer, Tracey Hagan, and Liz Mastoloni, who closed off all paths to the goal. The Wildcats came out on top 3-0.
Coach Andrei was very impressed with how well his team made adjustments. “We had to get creative. Our players got physical and aggressive. Even when midfielder Sofia Wilmer got injured, freshman Daisy Grossman stepped up. Every player upped their game, especially the defense, which was stalwart.”
The Wildcats next game is September 24 at Green Farms Academy, followed by three home matchups before the month ends.